Schedules

IMG_0388When you have an invisible chronic illness you generally don’t talk about it because of the reaction you get. People either become uncomfortable and move away, or they say you’re whining. But I’m going to talk about it now because, let’s face it, it affects my writing.

Namely I’ve been dealing with scheduling problems. We all have the same amount of time but we don’t all have the same amount of energy.  The amount of energy I have on a normal day is practically microscopic. And I can never be certain how much energy I’ll have at any given time.

There was a post from somewhere (I’m sorry I don’t have a link or any info about that) written by a mother who homeschooled and was also ill. The thing that stood out for me in the article was that she had two schedules, a regular and a lighter, alternative schedule that she put up where everyone in the family could see it, one for her better days and one for when she was sick. Apparently, she made it in a way so that at any given time she could say, “We’re switching to the alternate schedule.”

The idea of more than one schedule was new to me. I’ve been trying to think of how I could make this work for my situation.

Now I have a question for you. Are you or do you know a writer who manages their writing schedule while dealing with the symptoms of chronic illness? I’m really looking for practical tips. It’s so much easier adapting somebody else’s ideas than it is to forge your own way forward.

Gratitude Practice

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I read somewhere that “if you’re depressed you’re living in the past, if you’re anxious you’re living in the future, if you’re joyful you’re living in the present,” or something to that effect.

Whenever I get anxious I pull out a notebook and list ten things I’m grateful for, sometimes I’ll list five things I’ve accomplished recently, and very often the anxiety lessens or goes away entirely. (Actually, I do this most days.) I wanted to share from time to time some of the things I’m grateful for.

1. I’m grateful for… having food in the pantry.

2. I’m grateful for… knowing how to read and write.

3. I’m grateful for… the breeze that blows the smog away.

Starting First Draft

So excited spring is here. There are buds on the plants in my backyard. And I think I may be in a bit of a remission. I’ve done more this week than I was able to do all last month. It’s exciting because I’m done with the assembly/planning stage (if you follow me on Pinterest, my “Swamps and Pirates” board is my reference), and I’ll start writing the first draft on Tuesday.

Naturally I’m scared and excited at the same time. The fear of disappointing my reader. I want you to enjoy my stories, but I can’t control what you think or feel, I can only tell the story I need to tell. I tell myself that the first draft doesn’t matter. Good writing is rewriting. Creativity is messy, so the first draft can be as messy as I need it to be.

Word for 2014: Choice

2012-11-21 13.54.24This is the third year in row I’ve chosen a word as a sort of guidepost for the year. Last year’s word was mindfulness. I spent a lot of time reading and free-writing, asking questions, and learning more about myself.

It’s kind of hard for me to explain why I chose the word choice for this year. It’s a daily reminder that, regardless of the circumstances that I can’t change, there are a great many choices in my life that I have control over and I can’t leave all those decisions to other people. While I’ve never believed in fate, I realize that I all too often just let things happen and react to what’s been dished out to me.

My goal, every day this year, is to make at least one conscious decision. I want to develop more of an internal locus of control than I previously possessed. Even if I’m sick in bed, I have a choice of attitude and thoughts so I know I can do this every day.

I’d be interested to know what you’ve chosen for the year.

Hats Off to Mr. Healy and Mr. Pinchot and the Whole Production Company

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My mom and I just listened to an adorable book called The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy and read by Bronson Pinchot. The book is well written. I’ll be looking out for more books by this author, but the reading is phenomenal. This wasn’t reading, this was a performance. The way he read the narrative and the voices, and the production with the music and sound effects were great.

It was refreshing to have a light-hearted story and laughter’s always good for us.

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail…

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“…There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.”

I’m as slow as a snail when it comes to learning curves. I recently joined Pinterest and I have to admit it’s helping my writing. I’ve a board full of inspiring writing quotes for when I get down, and a board for my current project with a working title of Swamps and Pirates. I’m a visual thinker and having the visuals in one place has helped.

Like I said, I’m as slow as a snail and getting all the buttons and fiddly bits for the website so you can join me. I hope the links in this post help.

I’m following Kenneth Atchity’s Writer’s Time agenda. I just finished week three of the assembly part (Pinterest has been a great tool for this).

I’m not even certain how to tweet my posts. If anyone has any tips I’d appreciate it.

Present in the Moment

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So, it’s been two months since I last posted. A lot has happened. My brother got married and moved out of the house. My mom and I have been using our energy to move furniture about and organize now that we have the extra space. We’re still at work on it. We move like turtles, but after a while you can see we’ve made a dent in things. I’m proud of all the work we’ve done so far.

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With chronic illness, every time I exert my energy, I have to pay for it with pain and exhaustion for at least a day, sometimes a whole week depending on what it is I’ve done. Despite that, I’ve been able to do some writing.

I read Kenneth Atchity’s book, Write Time: Guide to the creative process, from vision through revision and beyond.  

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This is a great book. I highly recommend it to writers of either fiction or nonfiction. I’ve been following his agenda, going through the assembly process. I made it through the first week even being sick and having to do most of my writing in bed, but I did it. I can’t tell you how proud I am of myself for the last few weeks. It’s an unusual feeling for me and I’m reveling in it. I hope you too take the time today to be proud of any improvement or progress you’ve made.

Thankful Thursday: Journals

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I can’t imagine life without journals, without being able to write down emotions and stories and everyday happenings. It’s a part of how I think and how I live my life, so much a part that it would be easy to take it for granted. I was trying to write stories down even before I could read and write. I drew scratchings that looked to me like cursive.

My favorite were the kind without lines, just blank pages. Something about 5″ x 7″ or thereabouts. But the last few months I’ve been using 8×10″ single subject notebooks.

Half the time it’s just jibberish, but I have to get it out to stay sane.

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What I’m Listening To

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Lonesome Dreams by Lord Huron — I love this album. There’s a part of me that belongs in the wild west. Electric blue skies, purple mountains, howling winds, and sagebrush. This evokes all that and more for me. I only wish there was an instrumental version for when I’m writing and don’t want lyrics getting in the way.

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